Microsoft 365 Copilot Powered by AI Will Cost Customers an Extra $30
We got a bunch of AI offerings on this year's Microsoft Inspire, formerly known as the Worldwide Partner Conference. At this conference, partners are usually informed about the company's future roadmap. This year Microsoft's virtually held conference was all about AI, and from the conference's proceedings, it looks like AI's here to stay.
Announcement boosts Microsoft shares
Microsoft's shares surged by 5.8% Tuesday (July 18, 2023) after announcing a new Artificial Intelligence subscription service for Microsoft 365. The company said that it will cost businesses an additional $30 per month to get access to generative AI tools like Teams, Excel, and Word. Microsoft 365 Copilot, which harnesses AI capabilities will cost customers up to 83% more, as reported by Business Today. This new model will help customers leverage AI features like ranking emails, creating minutes of meetings, summarising documents, and much more.
It was also reported that close to 600 companies have been testing out Microsoft 365 with a paid early access program over a few months. Companies like Lumen, Emirates, and KPMG have all gotten access, and Microsoft's head of consumer marketing says that they saw "the more customers use Copilot, the more their enthusiasm for Copilot grows." This announcement comes months after Google announced very similar AI features for their own Google Workspace. The features included AI-assisted text generation in Gmail, Docs, and more. Other than these two giants, Zoom and Salesforce have also been adding AI-powered capabilities.
Why is Microsoft Copilot so highly-priced?
The steep pricing reflects the astounding demand for generative AI at the moment. Another contributing factor seems to be the fact that Microsoft invested a fortune in building AI-powered models like OpenAI. It's also important to note that Microsoft and other tech media companies are going toe-to-toe trying to get GPUs to power these models amid the chip shortage, accelerating the price further.
Other AI annoucements from Microsoft Inspire 2023
Microsoft and Meta's Tie Up
Meta and Microsoft announced their availability of Llama 2, which is the new generation of their open-source language model. Llama 2 is built to help businesses and developers create "generative AI-powered tools and experiences," as reported by Microsoft. "We’re now ready to open source the next version of Llama 2 and are making it available free of charge for research and commercial use. We’re including model weights and starting code for the pre-trained model and conversational fine-tuned versions, too," Meta's official blog post read.
The new generation of Llama has been tested and trained on 40% more data than its predecessor, which includes over 1 million human footnotes that it can adhere to. This will help the quality of outputs, as per Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta Platforms. Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft talked about his plans to expand the Azure AI service to Asia and increase the grip on Western Europe and North America. Jessica Hawl who is the current vice president of data and AI at Microsoft said that this will allow organizations to quickly and easily benefit from the power of these foundational models.
Bing Chat Enterprise
Microsoft announced this new AI-powered chatbot that is designed to offer high levels of privacy for businesses that are susceptible to security concerns. There have been problems surrounding the use of generative AI and the risk of data breaches. "Using AI tools that aren’t built for the enterprise inadvertently puts sensitive business data at risk," reads Microsoft's press release. Microsoft says that Bing Chat is designed to tackle these issues. The company made it clear that no data is saved upon access to the service, indicating that no consumer data will be used to train the AI chatbot in any way.
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